Offers food for thought
We all want peace. We all want the kind of peace that surpasses human understanding. We all want that peace that comes from the Lord, who says "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. John 14:27 To receive and to have established within us, we will need to be vigilant in seeking the LORD who is with us and calling out to Christ who is in truth, near to us. So that the scoundrel within us will forsake those ways and our thoughts will cease to be wicked. In turning to the Lord for mercy and receiving forgiveness we will be made free. In our freedom, we will see and hear, we will listen and obey. We will humbly embrace the ways of the Lord and put on the mind of Christ… or, we shall have no lasting peace.
An everlasting desire of God’s for us, is that that we come to possess that gift of interior peace. But, the ‘spirit’ that is at play in the Gospel story today, is for many of us a real stumbling block to lasting holy peace. All too often, undermining the purity of our motivations, is the desire for affirmation and recognition by others that overtakes us. We might even fool ourselves by claiming it’s righteous anger or indignation according to Justice, or Charity or Mercy… but really, we’re just angry or bitter or hurt because we were pretty pleased with our performance, our generosity, our piety, our sacrifice, our intellectual prowess… etc, etc, etc! And we thought it only right that we should be given our due, here and now, for all the world to see on Facebook and Twitter. How many likes did I get? How often have our good actions or good words been spoiled by our selfish need to be recognized, or affirmed or immediately rewarded. And, zap… just like that, no more peace.
In all that we do, we ought to be striving not for praise and recognition from other people here on earth, but rather, merely to be and do what love demands. This is purity of intention. We ought to strive simply to love God and to love our neighbor, to be instruments of grace and manifestations of God’s glory. We ought to do good to others so as to be mirrors of God's own goodness in this fallen world.
There is one very easy way for us to take the temperature of our purity of intention: look at our reaction when we do something for someone and they don't say "thank you". Of course, they ought to say ‘thank you’, but if they don’t, our usual reaction is to give into feelings of resentment and anger, and maybe even vengeance. The supernatural reaction, the one that shows purity of intention, is to let those feelings pass by, like clouds, and keep the eyes of our soul focused on Christ. For the disciple of Christ who is actively pursuing growth in holiness, that alone ought to give us deep spiritual joy.
Working to ensure the purity of our intentions, will protect the peace within our souls. Then, we will truly understand what St. Paul has written in today’s second reading. We will become strong in ‘holy indifference’ and no matter the circumstance, it will always be win / win. To live is to have more time to glorify the Lord and to die is to live. No other religion or philosophy provides for such a mysterious truth which can be known.
This ‘holy indifference” is perfect acceptance of what God wants. It is perfect acceptance of God’s ways and the total merging of my vision with God’s. It is to conduct ourselves in a way that is worthy of Christ, who remains near to all who call upon him.
Peace doesn't just happen; it's made.
CampusPadre is a college ministry Priest Chaplain with 30 years experience in youth and young adult ministry, who strives to let the Holy Spirit lead and challenges students to seek holiness above all.